Sub Pop/Hardly Art Showcase @ The Mercury Lounge 10.20

Posted October 21, 2011 in

Xray Eyeballs. Photo: Jackie Roman
When I arrived at The Mercury Lounge at 7 p.m., I was greeted with the words “SOLD OUT.” I figured it meant that this showcase was probably going to be a killer one. I liked two of the seven bands on the bill, had been told that a third would be right up my alley, and figured that since the showcase was Sub Pop and Hardly Art branded, the bands that I was unfamiliar with would probably still be entertaining. I slipped past the door guy after flashing my badge to a room that was sparsely populated. It surprised me after seeing the sold out sign on the door and realizing that they were only letting a relatively small number of CMJ badge holders in.

Xray Eyeballs started their set shortly after 7 p.m., playing for roughly half an hour. I immediately noticed that the vocals needed to be boosted in the mix. Lead singer Carly Rabalais’ voice sounded muddy and it was often difficult to tell what songs she was singing. I figured that after a few songs they’d get the balance right, which didn’t happen, but I still enjoyed the set. This four-piece from Brooklyn plays melodic garage rock that is interlaced with dreamy psychedelic elements and often draws comparisons to The Velvet Underground. Although their debut album, Not Nothing, feels monotonous at points, in a live setting, this feeling was eliminated. Watching their drummer Allison Press behind her kit was particularly entertaining. I was sad to see Xray Eyeballs leave the stage so soon after they had begun.

Next up was Gem Club, a group that I had never heard of. As I watched them set up their gear on stage, which included a cello, I thought I might be in for something interesting. I tried to give it a chance, but after only a few songs, I felt like I was being put to sleep by what was happening on stage. I migrated to the front half of the venue to linger near the bar as they finished up.

Once Gem Club finished up, Jacuzzi Boys took the stage. This was a another band that I had never heard of, but was told by a friend that I would probably like them. I fucking loved them. Over the past two years, Jucuzzi Boys have played shows with groups like Shannon and the Clams, The Strange Boys, Fucked Up, Nobunny, The Fresh and Onlys, and also played the Bruise Cruise. This Miami three-piece played raw rock n’ roll, whose style reminded me a bit of the Ramones, but brighter"they are from Florida after all.

I wasn’t really paying attention during the next two bands"Memory House and Still Corners. I caught the last few songs of J. Mascis’ set, but was unimpressed by it.

At around 1 a.m., headliners Dum Dum Girls took the stage. I worked my way up towards the front and found myself standing near members of Xray Eyeballs to enjoy the show. Dum Dum Girls suffered from some of the same sound issues that had plagued Xray Eyeballs’ set, with vocals that were hard to distinguish from the mix, but other than that, Dum Dum Girls killed it at Mercury Lounge. Watching Dee-Dee tear through tracks from the recently released Only in Dreams was awe-inspiring. “Bedroom Eyes,” “Teardrops on my Pillow” and “Always Looking” were some of the standouts from their set. Two summers ago when Dum Dum Girls played the Twilight Concert Series, I wasn’t that impressed"To be honest, I didn’t really remember them playing. In a small, intimate venue like The Mercury Lounge, Dum Dum Girls ripped. These ladies had all the raw intensity that I’d expect from listening to their albums.

Although I wasn’t that interested in the bands sandwiched between the opener and the closer, Xray Eyeballs opening and Dum Dum Girls closing made for one killer showcase. I’d love to catch both of these groups in NYC once more.
Xray Eyeballs. Photo: Jackie Roman Gem Club. Photo: Jared Graves Jacuzzi Boys Dum Dum Girls